Situated on the northwest coast, Alghero is one of the most charming towns in Sardinia and makes an excellent base for a holiday.
It is a fortress city on the sea with great bastion walls, narrow cobblestone streets, charming piazzas, opulent churches, and an array of stunning shops with coral jewellery.
In this guide, we will show you the best things to do in Alghero. Whether you are looking for an active or relaxing break, you are sure to enjoy your time in the wonderful area of Sardinia.
We really enjoyed our stay in Alghero, it has that easy feel to it with cafes and restaurants spilling out into the piazzas, a lovely waterfront and plenty of old world charm thanks to the characteristic buildings and the impressive walls that enclose the ‘centro storico’.
Planning a trip to Sardinia?
Check out our posts on the best places to go in Sardinia and Sardinia in September
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8 Great Things to do in Alghero
Walk the Ramparts
This almost goes without saying, but whilst in the town, you must make sure that you walk along the top of the great sea defences that protect Alghero old town. This will provide some fantastic views both out to sea and back towards the red-tiled roofs, bell towers and domes of Alghero itself.
The whole area has a glorious atmosphere and you will pass cafes, restaurants, and gelaterias. Along the way, you will also find some interesting features like cannons and even a massive trebuchet that will be sure to intrigue kids (this former weapon of war now seems to have found a new lease of life as a climbing frame).
Another fabulous place to sit and watch the world go by is just outside the massive wall of the historic centre, by the harbour, where a wide promenade attracts visitors and locals alike.
Why not grab a bench and sit down with a panini or takeaway pizza (all pizzerias in Italy will happily box up a delicious pizza for you to take out – a cheap and always delicious meal).
Nearby the Piazza Civica, the old square, is flanked by boutiques and restaurants and ranks as one of the must see Alghero attractions. The site is notable as the location where the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V delivered a speech prior to embarking on a voyage to fight the Turks in Africa.
Hit the Beaches
I am sure that you will want to hit the beach when you travel to Alghero. You are spoiled for choice with so many nice beaches to visit. Some of the best Alghero beaches include:
- Mugoni Beach – One of the best beaches in Sardinia you should definitely make the effort to get to this beach about 20 minutes’ drive north of the city. It is a glorious sweep of white sands backed by pine forests, and the views out to Capo Caccia are reminiscent of those found in Thailand. A fairly wide sandy beach with shallow sea makes this another great option for families. There are serviced areas and free area and the beach can be reached by car or bus.
- Lido Novelli and Lido San Giovanni – Right in the centre of the city these popular beaches are the kind of wall to wall umbrella covered beaches that we aren’t great fans of, and it is probably not the sort of beach that you go to Sardinia for. It is handy though, being so close to the historic centre and there are many hotels in this area. The beach is wide and sandy, and the seas shallow so it is a good option for families, especially those that like the comforts of a serviced beach area.
- Lazzaretto Beach – Featuring a picturesque defensive tower perched upon a rocky outcrop, Lazzaretto beach is known for its particularly clear water. Near to the tower, you will find numerous coves that make for a good place to explore.
Take a Boat Ride to Grotti di Nettuno
If you are still wondering is Alghero worth visiting then be sure to check out these amazing caves. The boat ride to Grotti di Nettuno is a 3 hour round trip tour that offers great views of the city, local vineyards, the bay of Porto Conte and the hills in the distance as you head out to the rocky promontory of Capo Caccia.
In the cave you will find the results of nature’s work over millions of years, stalactites and stalagmites have grown to meet each other and blended into amazing formations, all lit up for your enjoyment. Underwater the limestone cliffs continue creating a vast underwater marine cave system which is surely an Alghero must see attraction.
Bosa is a small medieval town, which has a distinctive and living historic centre full of characterful buildings, an interesting castle with fabulous views, and a gorgeous riverfront ideal for a casual stroll.
To get here take the coastal road south of Alghero past a beautiful, unspoilt and protected panorama of sparkling sea, lush vegetation, and rocky mountains. This road is popular with bird watchers and large birds of prey swoop overhead and nestle on the rocky crags.
Bosa is a compact town, easily explored on foot – please note it is a fairly steep climb up to the castle, and we got pretty hot on a sunny day there!
The town is well worth a visit and can be done as a day trip from Alghero, it also makes a pleasant place to stop over if you are touring the island.
Soak Up History at Nuraghe Palmavera
Nuraghe Palmavera is located in a bay that the Romans called the ‘Harbour of the Nymphs’. Here you will find a village that is four thousand years old, shrouded in legend, and among the most important ruins left by the Nuragic civilisation.
Today you will find a well preserved and impressive Nuraghe centred on 2 round towers with many huts surrounding it. You can see the interior passages and chambers and often you will be able to observe archaeologists carrying out excavation and restoration work.
Children will love it here as they can roam around freely and go in and out of the buildings for a fun history lesson. Or you could forget the actual history and encourage them to look for secret doors in the ruins!
Just 8km from Alghero and with easy parking the site makes for a nice half day trip from Alghero. There are information boards around the site and an information centre with extremely friendly and helpful staff.
If you are keen to learn more about the Nuraghi civilization, you can book a tour guide over the phone (extra 3 euro per person). Entrance costs 5 euros making it one of the more affordable Alghero things to do.
Explore the Underwater Depths
From Alghero, you can take the opportunity to enjoy some of the best scuba diving in Europe. Using the services of local experts you can explore the wondrous hidden marine world of the bay.
There are over a dozen caves to explore at Capo Caccia and Punta Giglio while wrecks of Roman ships and galleons lie on the seabed. There is something for everyone no matter your level of experience: beginner dive trips, PADI certification training or advanced specialist cave diving instruction can all be easily arranged in the town. If you like diving this is undoubtedly one of the top activities in Alghero.
Visit Abandoned Argentiera
The eerily abandoned mining town of Argetiera (derived from the word ‘argento’ meaning silver) has its roots in Roman times and was once the largest Sardinian producer of this precious metal.
Since its closure in 1963, the town has been largely empty and has the feel of a ghost town. Being situated on one of the wildest sections of the Sardinian coast to give the location an extra dose of atmosphere making it one of the best outdoor activities in the area.
A few locals remain to cater for tourists and there are a couple of restaurants and bars open in summer. Combine your trip with a visit to the nearby beach which is a favourite spot for swimming.
The beach itself is a fairly grey shingle and doesn’t match some of Sardinia’s best, but the waters are crystal clear and great for swimming. Rocky areas at either end of the beach provide interesting snorkelling opportunities. All in all this is one of the best day trips from Alghero.
Try the Local Specialities
You are sure to need to take a break form all that Algheros sightseeing, and luckily the town has some delightful cafes and restaurants to spend time in. While you are there, it is well worth trying out some of the dishes that the town is famous for. Alghero’s fishing port provides seafood fresh from the sea on a daily basis. Be sure to try the local speciality of Catalan lobster, a kind of lobster salad with raw tomatoes and onion. Ricci (sea urchins) are also very popular in Alghero restaurants and there is even a festival held in their honour every February.
For a non-fishy dessert try ‘seadas’, a deep-fried pocket of pecorino cheese drizzled with honey and lemon peel.
Where to Stay in Alghero
There are a great variety of options for accommodation in Alghero from boutique BnB’s to large chain hotels you will be able to find a great place to suit you and your family.
If you are looking to book a room in Alghero? check out these great options available on Booking.com
Here are some of our favourite options:
Hotel Florida: A great place to stay, particularly for families, with 2 huge swimming pools and right by the beach. Just a short walk for the historic centre.
Panorama Guest House: Comfortable rooms right in the heart of the old town. Fabulous views of the city and out to sea.
What to do in Alghero
We hope that you have enjoyed our roundup of things to do in Alghero, are no longer wondering “what is there to do in Alghero, Sardinia”.
What we have covered is really just the tip of the iceberg and there are loads other great activities in Alghero that we haven’t covered.
If you have a favourite fun thing to do in Alghero, please let us know in the comments below. If you haven’t yet been we do think it is one of the best places in Europe to enjoy culture, beaches and great landscapes all from one easily accessible base.
If you prefer multi-location holidays, consider combining your time here with a visit to Cala Gonone, the gateway to outdoor adventures in the Supramonte.
22 thoughts on “The 8 Best Things to do in Alghero, Sardinia”
Sardinia is on my list of places to go in the next two years on a family trip, and Alghero is now at the top of the list after reading this post! Lazzaretto Beach seems amazing- seeing a tower overlooking a beach with a variety of coves seems like a scene out of a treasure hunter movie! Bosa is my number one “to-do”, as a medieval town with a castle and shops sounds amazing! Thank you so much for bring this amazing location to my attention!
Thank you for your comment! I am sure that you will have a great time in Sardinia, the places that you mention are all well worth your time!
Sardinia it’s one of the most beautiful islands in the world. I have had the chance to make a trip there with my family two years ago. They have been the best holidays ever for me: amazing beaches, beautiful nature, excellent food and very friendly people. Italians are so lively and full of energy; always talking with gestures and high voice. Going in Alghero is one of the best gifts you may do to yourself or your lovely ones.
You have summed Sardinia up so well! It is a beautiful island and a wonderful place to visit with a family.
Hello there. Thanks for sharing the best things to do in Alghero, Sardinia. I have not been to Alghero, Sardinia before. Wow! From the photo I see Alghero, Sardinia is a beautiful place to be. Would love to be there someday. Of course the beaches are fun. Would definitely do these things if I get there someday.
Keep sharing these fun filled adventures.
Thank you, it is definitely one of our favourite places and highly recommend that you try and visit if you ever have the opportunity.
What a wonderful selection of ideas of what to do in Sardinia. After traveling to Rome and deciding to stay there to really dig deep and explore it in January it really gave me a taste for more ways to see Italy. Your options ranging from Scuba diving to archaeology to neighborhood shopping and dining made me think about how carefully I will have to plan this trip to really make the most of the wide variety of options to check out. Maybe multiple trips will be necessary to truly enjoy it all properly!
Thanks, it sounds like you may end up like us, visiting Italy over and over again! It is a beautiful country and there are so many places worth visiting. sardinia is right up there as one of my favourite places, especially the beaches!
I believe it is such a good thing to get out and travel the world taking in all of that different sites and experiencing culture. This makes being alive so much fun. I believe that if more person would save a little and really make the sacrifice to travel the world or at lease a few countries they would appreciate life even more. What you have written is pretty amazing and will be a good help to your readers.
I’m glad that you liked th epost. You are right getting out and seeing the world is something that everyone should try and do.
Never been to Sandinia but will be certainly adding it to my list of places to visit. We love to visit quaint towns. The cobbled streets are idyllic, and the waterfront looks a great place for any evening stroll after a relaxing meal… Coupled with warmer weather than the UK. I want to be there already. Thanks again for the heads up on this lovely part of the world.
No problem, I am sure you will enjoy a trip to Sardinia. Flights from th UK are quick and cheap too!
Seadas are not made wit ricotta 🙂 always pecorino 🙂
Thanks, I have updated the post!
Yet another great review about Sardinia. This is really a beautiful place, all the places and activities you mentioned see very fun filled. A day at Mugoni beach and a boat ride to Grotti di Nettuno seem like things I would really enjoy with my family.
I can never say this too often, this seems is really a beautiful place. And you have done a great job describing alghero.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, I am glad that you are enjoying reading all our Sardinia posts! You cant go wrong with the activities you have chosen!
I love travelling and Italy is on my bucket list, because of your well written article on Sardinia,and specifically what to do in Alghero,I now know exactly which part of Italy to think about when the time comes. Your picks of what to do are amazing and gives great guidance to any Traveller trying to plan for a vacation in Alghero and it’s surrounding,I am already in love with this place ,let me start saving the ching ching.
I am glad you enjoyed our post. If you are interested in mainland Italy as well, we have just published a post on Things to do in Venice with kids good luck planning your trip!
Awesome article! I really enjoyed the reading!
Sardinia is on my bucket list; I can’t wait to get there. Such a beautiful country! I went to Italy two years ago, but In Tuscany and it was one of our best trip ever. The food was delicious, not to mention the wine! Anyway, from now on, I’ll start to plan my trip the Alghero since I have all the information I needed to. I just would like to know if Alghero is safe? Are there places that are not recommended to go? We go with children this time, so I am cautious!
Thank you for this excellent post!
Hi, we were in Alghero with our two small kids and felt very safe. As always you should be a bit alert but there are no real safety concerns specific to Alghero. The old part of town is nicest and you wont have any issues visiting that area.
traveling is truly a magnificent activity which motivates me, makes me flooded with postivity and heals from depression and other negative thoughts! I absolutely love travelling, life is too short to spend it in one place so please take every opportunity which You have to travel around the world! As far as Aleghero goes, it looks very lovely and promising! I am a huge fan of just laying around on the beaches and enjoying beautiful weather while sunbathing, so I am very pleased to know that Alghero will provide me this satisfaction with its gorgeous beaches and crystal-clear sea! I am also very stoked to visit Bosa and its characterful buildings like You’ve mentioned 😉 Thanks for this awesome article, I really enjoyed it! Keep up the great work 😉
I am glad you enjoyed our post. You are right about life being to short to stay in one place, that’s what we are all about at More Life In Your Days – trying to cram as many experiences and as much excitement as we can into each day!